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Obama's ladder

By Harold Witkov
web posted May 11, 2009

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad WorldIt's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is one of the zaniest comedy classics of all time. Starring an unsmiling Spencer Tracey as the straight man, it is about an ensemble of greedy jokesters in hot pursuit of money that does not rightfully belong to them.  It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World would also be an appropriate title for a 2009 remake, starring straight man Barak Obama and his greedy cabinet of tax cheats, plagiarists and fibbers, in hot pursuit of our tax dollars.

In the 1963 movie, Spencer Tracey and his ten comics end up getting a painful crash course in, of all things, elementary physics. In today's remake, let us hope, President Obama and his untrustworthy cohorts, reconsider their ways, and avoid the harsh lesson.

The physics lesson in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World begins when Spencer Tracey, and company, find themselves trapped on a coming apart fire escape stairwell high above the street. An emergency fire truck, with ladder, arrives and the ladder extends upward. A firefighter ascends, warns the stranded to climb down one at a time, and departs.  Bickering over whom shall go first, the panicked eleven end up at the top rung simultaneously.  Their weight starts the top-heavy ladder oscillating wildly out of control, the jokesters go flying across the city in every direction, and the ladder topples.

The movie jokesters never would have piled upon the top of the ladder if they knew their physics. In order to be stable, a ladder needs lots of weight at the base, where the center of gravity needs to be. A wobbly ladder that dangerously has its gravity center raised away from the base will have no choice but to topple.  In physics, this ladder-out-of-control phenomenon is known as an unstable equilibrium. 

As in physics, there is an unstable equilibrium in economics and the business world. Sometimes, when a jolt to an economy is too staggering, rather than it returning to a position of stability, the wobbly economy goes further astray and may even crash.  

A free market society will always be successful if a large portion of its citizenry is productive.  The strength of a nation's productivity is in the private (not public) work force. In a large company, for example, a work force will have its own corporate ladder. At the base of the ladder is the majority of employees, there is a smaller management population above, and a president, owner, or CEO at the top.  The higher one goes within the hierarchy of a solid corporation, the more likely that individual will have greater responsibility, authority, and compensation. There are fewer at the top than at the bottom. This is how it should be.

So what would President Obama's economic ladder look like? President Obama's ladder is not a ladder of productivity, but of "stimulus" giveaways, a misguided attempt at socialist parody. He has convinced (mesmerized is more like it) multitudes of people into thinking of themselves as members of downtrodden minorities, victims all.  Women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, union workers, etc., it makes no difference, this country was unfairly built upon their backs and the backs of their fathers, and the President is going to see they are justly compensated for it.

There is also an ongoing false campaign to convince the American people that economic woes are the result of high profile corporate shenanigans. This class envy device takes aim at millionaire CEO's and the corporate hotshots who bailed with golden parachutes. Recently, the swindler list has been expanded to include companies with overseas tax breaks and Chrysler bondholders.

The president plays Robin Hood very well.  He has the masses believing that with the confiscation and redistribution of "stolen" funds, his victims club will get a piece of the top rung of the ladder.  So how will Obama's ladder look with so many at the top?  It is going to be awful crowded up there. In fact, Obama's ladder, with its fluctuating center of gravity, will end up looking, and acting, like the out-of-control ladder did before it crashed in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Some might think president Obama needs a crash course in physics.  I do not think that is the case.  As an astute politician, I am quite sure he already knows everything there is to know about building a strong base. ESR

Harold Witkov is a Chicago-based writer and a regular contributor to Enter Stage Right.


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